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Updated 31 August 2016

Pippie: the latest update

When 80% of little Pippie Kruger's body suffered third-degree burns, no doctor thought she would survive. This is the inspiring story of a little girl's fight for survival.

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The story of Isabella "Pippie" Kruger has become well-known as that of the child who should have died, but miraculously survived.

When 80% of the two-and-a-half-year old Pippie Kruger's body sustained third degree burns, no doctor thought she would survive. "Pippie" is the inspiring, miraculous story of a little girl's fight for survival.

Pippie's story

The nightmare began on New Year's Eve in 2011 when Pippie's father was lighting a fire with fire-lighter gel. Pippie, who was two years old at the time, was standing next to him, when suddenly the lighter exploded. Pippie sustained third-degree burns on 80% of her body.

Pippie's mother, Anice Kruger, got through the endless hours at the hospital, seeing her beautiful daughter covered in bandages and not knowing if she would survive, is a miracle.

Initially the doctors told Anice that Pippie had a 10% chance of survival. But by some miracle Pippie survived and became an inspirational story to us all. She had to endure 54 operations, including a skin graft, involving a cloned skin transplant. "God was the one that helped me overcome the most traumatic experience of my life" exclaims Anice passionately. "There's nothing that you can't do without God. I prayed to God often and asked him to save Pippie, and He did."  

The idea for the book

In the book, Pippie, Anice Kruger reveals it all: fear, heartache and anger. Together with the author, Colleen Naude, Anice tells the heartrending tale of her family's courage and road to recovery. Colleen is the editor of Finance Week and she had followed Pippie's story for some time. "As a journalist and a mother, I realised that there's a story here that needs to be told that will touch people's lives, because people need know that faith and perseverance can really result in a positive outcome" says Colleen enthusiastically. Colleen then pitched her idea to Anice and immediately added that she doesn't plan on using this book to make money for herself. In fact, 85% of Colleen's royalties on the book will go to the "Pippie Gesiggie Foundation" which was started by Anice. The foundation initially focused on raising funds for Pippie, but now focuses on helping burn victims. "Anice eventually agreed to help me write the book" says Colleen. "She poured her heart out and I wrote it all down in a coherent story."

What is the book about?

The book covers Anice's experiences dealing with this traumatic situation, as well as the experiences from the medical team who helped Pippie. Unique experiences are shared, including Pippie's father, Erwin's story about how the tragedy impacted on him and their marriage, and how a New Year's  Eve celebration with the family resulted in a terrible nightmare.

World-wide, people followed Pippie's story and tracked the success of the ground-breaking surgery with cloned skin, a first in Africa and the first world-wide in such a young patient. Was it a miracle that Pippie survived? That is the question that journalist and author, Colleen Naude posed to 14 medical professionals and therapists.

One of Pippie's biggest heroes, Dr Ridwan Mia, the plastic and reconstructive surgeon who was one of the first doctors to treat Pippie, also shares his thoughts on this miracle child. "Who would have thought that you would be the source of our enlightenment, the reason we are all united and a nation's inspiration. Little one, you have changed the face of medicine in South Africa and in the world – and your fighting spirit makes us all proud!"

Release date of the book

The 256-page book includes 16 pages of unique and inspiring photos. The book will be released in Afrikaans and English at a retail price of R169.95 – and will be on sale at the following retailers: CUM Books, CNA, Exclusive Books, Gospel Direct, PNA and Bargain Books. It will also be available at selected branches of the following retailers: SPAR, Netcare hospital shops, Cardies, various Christian book shops and selected independent retailers (Jasmyn, Estoril, Grafitti).

How is Pippie doing?

"Pippie is progressing much better each day," said Pippie's mother, Anice, in an interview with Health24. "It's almost as if her life has been restarted. She's starting to talk again and has even begun to make jokes. I thank God for giving her a second chance and a big thank you to all the doctors, nurses and everyone else who supported us both financially and medically – and to all of Pippie's supporters who prayed for her, thank you so much." 

The official release is on 23 August 2013.

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